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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts recipient of major American arts endowment
Gift from Bev Perdue Jennings funds new curator title.

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced today the establishment of an endowment that will provide significant ongoing funding for an important new position at the museum — the Bev Perdue Jennings Assistant Curator of American Art.

“Bev and her husband, Ed Jennings, are longtime members of the museum and previously contributed to the 2018 exhibition Congo Masks: Masterpieces from Central Africa,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Bev’s generous gift is a major investment in the museum’s curatorial department and will support continued exemplary scholarship in American art.”

“I am delighted to support VMFA by endowing this position,” said Perdue Jennings. “Creativity is essential to the human condition. Art gives us a window into the past, a way to imagine the future and an opportunity to grow our spirits. We are so fortunate to have in VMFA an institution that celebrates and encourages creativity in its galleries, exhibitions, studio classes and statewide programs, and this gift is my way to support those efforts.”

Dr. Christopher C. Oliver, currently VMFA’s Assistant Curator of American Art, will take on the newly titled position. Dr. Oliver arrived at VMFA in 2013 and has organized several exhibitions including the recent exhibition Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art and the upcoming exhibition Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature, which opens September 25, 2021.

“I am incredibly grateful to Mrs. Perdue Jennings for this endowment and honored to accept this new title,” said Dr. Oliver. “This endowment demonstrates her profound support of VMFA and its collection — and her commitment to the future of art in Virginia.”

“Endowments like this are the gifts that keep giving and help to ensure the long-term financial security for the museum and its staff,” said Dr. Michael Taylor, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art & Education. “We are therefore extremely grateful to donors, including Bev Perdue Jennings, and to the curators whose groundbreaking work they are supporting through such endowments.”

Perdue Jennings grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore without easy access to art museums. Her experience has led her to champion children’s access to art, and her appreciation for art is reflected in her work as an award-winning watercolorist and oil painter. Perdue Jennings, known professionally as Bev Perdue, is a Signature Member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society and Virginia Watercolor Society. Her work is found in national and international galleries and has been featured in Artist and American Watercolor Artist magazines. As a volunteer, Perdue Jennings teaches painting through the program Art for the Journey that serves women in the Virginia Department of Corrections.

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